Ryan Goins has been a key player for the franchise, stepping in at both shortstop and second base various times and flashing Gold Glove calibre defence regardless of where he’s penciled in
So…. Troy Tulowitzki was hurt again. Thankfully the X-rays came back negative and it wont hamper him from playing opening day or missing any significant time. The former All-Star was hit on the hand during a spring training game against Bartolo Colon and the New York Mets. With this being Tulo’s first spring with the new club, everyone is breathing a sigh of relief that he’s considered day-to-day instead of a potentially much worse report.
The Blue Jays are going to need the 5 time All-Star to stay healthy and productive for the entire 162-game season season, something he hasn’t always thrived at throughout his career. It’s especially important considering they’re already down one middle infielder in Devon Travis. Travis is still dealing with a seemingly endless shoulder issue, but should be back in the lineup by May or June.
Because of the fragility of the talented duo, one could argue that Ryan Goins is as important as either player. As we saw in 2015, Goins has been a key player for the franchise, stepping in at both shortstop and second base at various times\ and flashing Gold Glove calibre defence regardless of where he’s penciled in. His bat has steadily improved as well, finishing 2015 with a slash line of .250/.318/.354 over 376 at bats.
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When Goins entered the league in 2013, he was (and still mostly is) a defence-first player with light hitting skills. He was brought up to help in the absence of Jose Reyes, and repeatedly dazzled fans with highlight reel plays in the field. Fast forward a couple years later and Goins is still providing tremendous value with his glove, and has slowly but surely developed a serviceable bat, especially in the second half of 2015.
The former 4th round pick enters the season as the starter at 2nd, and it’s mostly presumed that Devon Travis will resume his role as starter once he is healthy enough to return. Because the Blue Jays lack a true lead off hitter type after the trade of Ben Revere, many fans and writers have suggested that Travis will be best suited to that role come summer time. Don’t expect Goins to go quietly, though.
Regardless of how things play out, Goins knows he’s going to be an important cog in the success of this season for the ball club. He’ll be the everyday second baseman, at least until Travis’ return, and will be needed to spell both Travis and Tulowitzki afterward, assuming both players can stay healthy throughout the season. Spelling both, especially given that it’s Tulo’s first season playing on a new surface, will be a steady job in itself and will keep his name in the lineup with regularity.
The 28-year-old may not be the sexiest name on the lineup card, but his contributions on defence, his positional flexibility (important positions at that), and his steadily improving bat all add up to an exciting season to look forward to from the Texas native.
Come season’s end, my guess is Goins has more AB’s than either Tulo or Travis. His ability to provide a quality contribution at either keystone position in their absence will be a big factor in whether the Blue Jays can contend again in 2016.